Cubism was the most revolutionary and influential movement of the twentieth century. After Renaissance artists perfected the device of perspective, a painting was thought of as a window into the world. But cubist painters understood that canvases themselves were painted objects. They also rejected the idea that an object rendered with traditional perspective was any more “real” than an abstraction of that object on the flat surface.
Cubist paintings were based on things in the visible world. Yet they often showed objects fractured, or broken, as if seen from more than one point of view at once, or built up of flattened forms, as in cubist collages.
Later artists experimented with cubist forms and some made completely non-representational compositions—that is, paintings not based on an object.
The most recent painting in this rotation, Roy Lichtenstein’s The Violin, shows that seven decades after its inception, Cubism continued to be influential.
This rotation includes 14 paintings, ranging from Nature Morte, a 1914 work by Pablo Picasso, to The Violin from 1976.
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The Chambers and Grant Gallery on level three of the Hamilton Building provides great opportunity for a focused presentation. Its intimate size mandates a careful selection of works so that each relates to the others in meaningful ways. Unlike some of our larger galleries, this one offers a quiet conversation between works one can see in a single sweep of vision. More